Posted on

Why Americans Have So Much Trouble Sleeping

Tired of not getting enough sleep? (The pun is old and exhausted, yes. But puns are fun so bear with us.)

We want to help you fix that. But this blog is not about sleep. This blog is about the reasons why we see so many people so tired in our society.

Arianna Huffington, a huge proponent of sleep after she passed out from exhaustion in 2007, recently interviewedthis guy who’s known as “the sleep doctor,” Dr. Michael Breus.

In the interview, Dr. Breus said Americans in particular have trouble resting because they are stressed and fail to make sleep a priority.

“Throughout your day, you are constantly being bombarded with people asking you questions, expecting you to do things, running non-stop from here to there,” Breus explained. “But when you get in bed at night, and your turn off the light, and your bed partner is not talking, and you finally have just a little alone time, your brain kicks into overdrive.”

And yet “sleep is the only topic that is absolutely and immediately relevant to everyone’s lives.”

We do our best to get to know the sleep needs of each customer we meet, so we hear a lot of things about people’s struggles with rest and it’s a lot of the same stuff Dr. Breus is talking about. Here are some takeaways from our conversations:

  • People hesitate to invest money, time or effort in sleep because they feel pressure to invest in other things. Nobody gets credit in this society for being “an amazing sleeper.” The only reason Arianna Huffington gets to bring attention to sleep is that she’s done a lot of other amazing things that are valued—and she credits her success partly to sleeping well.
  • Many people in our society are super stressed and overstimulated and have no alone time. Or if they do, they’re so worn out they just watch TV, which doesn’t really provide the processing “quiet time” we all need in varying degrees.
  • Sleeping feels like being lazy. There are lots of Americans out there who feel utterly exhausted and crappy thanks to illnesses like Lyme Disease or fibromyalgia but they don’t find out they have an illness for months or even years because they feel guilty for sleeping and try to tough it out.
  • It’s a vicious cycle. Chronic sleep deprivation is one of the leading common denominators among people who suffer from many health issues, including fibromyalgia. And once you have health issues, you have even more trouble sleeping.

So give yourself permission to invest in living well by taking on less stress, giving yourself time to process your life, making sleep a priority and having fun—with puns or otherwise.

Sleep Tight, Urbanites!